This dissertation is an exploration of the relationship of architecture, as a product, and architects, as producers, to the wider consumer society. The domestic architecture and design culture of the 1950s is used as a vehicle for this exploration. Brisbane architecture of this period and the writings of historians are used in conjunction with observations from design journals of 1958 to construct an overview of taste and design culture in the late fifties.
The study of design culture reveals remarkable differences in aesthetic preferences. It would be fair to assume that no consumer would appropriate a product they considered ugly, bad or useless. The differences in products appropriated corresponds to a difference between consumers in the judgement of these products, a difference in taste.
In order to explain these differences and highlight the significance of taste in a consumer society, the theories of sociologist Pierre Bourdieu are discussed. In Bourdieu’s social construction of taste, cultural products act to articulate the class hierarchy in a consumer society.
While exploring the relationship of architecture and design culture to broader consumer society this thesis seeks to explore the role architecture plays in articulating the social hierarchy from Bourdieu’s perspective. The observable differences and changes in taste are examined using the model of taste constructed for 1958. The role producers, in particularly architects, play in fuelling taste fluctuations is explored.